Posted by: notsofancynancy | September 6, 2012

World War II, chapter 28, Winter in Tennessee

World War II

Winter in Tennessee

Chapter 28

Dad is still in Tennessee on field maneuvers.  They keep running into what he calls “problems.” The way that I understand this term is when they are out in the field, they come across problems they have to overcome. For instance, they are driving along and they come across enemy snipers.  They then have to fight the good fight and not get captured or (pretend) killed. It seems as though they will be on maneuvers until after the first of the year. From what Dad says it has been very cold out. I kind of appreciate them having to deal with the freezing cold here in training. I know what kind of weather they will encounter when they get overseas, but hindsight is 20/20. I do want to believe that the Army learned a lot about training men for war from what they put the soldiers of World War II through.

4 December 1943

Dearest Vi, Well Honey how are you tonight. Tops I hope. It was nice here but it rained this morning. We still can’t complain though because it is warm. And that is something we can stand a lot of. The sun came out this afternoon so we all took our Sat afternoon bath, In front of God and everybody too. You know honey this country is so much better than Alabama and the rest of the southern states. One can hardly believe it. God the houses are so much cleaner and built so much better that you would be surprised at what a change 400 miles can make. Well it won’t be long until the third problem will start. You know this maneuver is a snap. If the weather will hold out we will have it beaten. Of course if it gets cold again we will sure be miserable. Know something Darling? Last nite [sic] with nothing to do I thought I would invest a little money in a game of chance. Well I beat the game out of $20. So I didn’t do so badly. That’s the first craps I have shot for about 5 months. That sure is coming in handy too. Enough of that.

Twenty whole dollars was a lot of money back then. Being out in the field I wonder what he did with all that money.

I got your card today. Man was I ever glad to get it. We hadn’t had mail call for three days. And today we had three mail calls (one for each day) The first I missed completely. The second my name was called my heart came up into my throat and the letter was from my sister. I was so damn mad I threw the letter into the fire. Didn’t read it. Then the mail came in about 8 tonight and your card was there. I felt much better but if that letter hadn’t been in it there would have been a blue country around here. But that time I camouflaged part of the area anyway when it was only a card. Then I saw the letter part and changed the color a little. Man not hearing for about 5 days and then get a card. That’s all. I wasn’t mad though just wasn’t feeling good.

Once again a great example of how much soldiers depend on the mail. I have been following Robin Coyle’s blog. Her daughter, Amanda is in Army basic training and Robin has been sharing her letters with us. It is the same with her. In her basic training they have taken away all their luxuries. She loves the care packages that Robin sends her. (Read about Amanda’s Journey Here)

Robert Winter and Charles Lance, France

Now back to World War II.

Bob and I took an old chevy truck up on top of the mountains today to cut some wood. God we must be soft because we only went up about 300 feet and the air was so thin up there we could only work about 5 minutes and we were played out. We got what we went after though but when we got it down here no one will cut it so now we are setting here by some live coals and have a trucks lights on. They work good though. I have $11.00 invested in candy now.  I was going out of business but certainly hit the jackpot. This way I’ll get what I have in it anyway. Well honey I love you. l Sometimes I wonder why, I guess it is in my blood. I do love you though. So for tonight I’m going to bed. Bye now. All my love, Your Lefty.

You can tell he is once again a little mad about not getting any mail from Mom. I can’t believe he actually threw the letter from his sister in the fire without reading it. I never knew my father had that kind of temper.  I was wondering where my daughter got hers.

7 December

Dearest Vi, Well I have written a couple of times but have torn both letters up. I couldn’t take it either. I guess we are about to be attached here. Anyway we are alerted on our Machine Guns and should sleep with them tonight. If it were a blond I wouldn’t mind at all only it isn’t so. I’m not going out. That is if I don’t have to.  I think we have moved a couple times since I last wrote. Anyway we were on the side of a mountain then moved down here. Although this isn’t quite so bad it is still hopeless. It rained Monday and we couldn’t get 6×4’s out of the area. We have now though it has dried out. God what would we do if it rained for a week.  The trucks would be buried. Some are now.

Quartermaster Insignia Quartermaster Museum, Virginia

Sleeping with machine guns? I wonder if they have bullets at this time. I would think not. I wonder what they did use to practice war. This is yet another one of the real “problems” they will face once they get overseas. They should be very knowledgeable about getting the trucks unstuck if they ever get there.

Bob and one of his drivers had a wreck last night. It wasn’t their fault but sure put the kinks in a truck. That makes three trucks and two trucks we have wrecked already.  Anyway the truck in front of him didn’t make a corner and had to back up. A civilian pickup coming from the opposite direction stops and before Bob could make the corner ran broad side into them. The worst part of it was both vehicles had on service lights. So blackout driving couldn’t be blamed. One civilian was either damn drunk or damn badly hurt. He passed out. When he came to the first thing he said was “What did I hit.” They took him to the hospital. We are cleared of the accident anyway.  I am canteen man. Anyway I handle all the third platoon canteen stuff. Mostly candy now. We took a collection and got $65 and bought candy gum and cig. Anyway this week I have made $6.23 profit. Only about 6 have money in the fund so we will be making something. We sell at cost to our platoon and at a profit to the rest. Candy 2 for .15 Cig $.15 and gum for 2 for $.15 So we aren’t doing bad. You asked me about some gloves. They would be swell. Only don’t buy a good pain because I couldn’t keep anything here and I really don’t need any. As a matter of fact I would rather you wouldn’t send anything. Maybe a few cookies wouldn’t be bad. I have a place all picked out for them. While we are on the subject I’m sending $5.00. Buy Mom and Pop something for me. Or maybe you would rather put something with it and buy together. I don’t care. Only God I can’t get to town from here. As a matter of fact I’m not even trying. I look enough like a bum when my clothes are pressed and not all wrinkled. So nuts to that. Well sweet there isn’t anything in your letter I can answer so I guess I had better close. I love you my darling. So be careful. Love, Your Lefty.

It is everyday goings on in Dad’s platoon. I have so many questions and I regret not starting this journey before Dad passed away so I could ask him. I am sure the Army must provide the soldiers with some kind of gloves, don’t you think? Maybe that is why he does not need them.

Dad and his “Beep”

11 December

Dearest Vi, Well I guess I’ll have a little time or should I say I might have a lot of time. In fact all night. This, I might inform you is another of those fire side chats. So if you find a few ashes in it don’t worry. Its a damn hot night here. Remember I said I didn’t know what we would do if we had  a week in the rain. We had it. It rained for about 8 days straight. At least part of them anyway. And was our trucks ever in a bad way. I think I last wrote from that mountain side. Was that place ever torn up when we left. Man it looked like a plowed field. We had to winch trucks out of there. Pull them out and dig some out. Besides that it was damn wet. I didn’t want to see mud again. We have fixed that though.  Out little man Gordon found us a place. We are right up on a mountain peak. We are above the rain and it is too damn cold to snow. We sure will have a mess if it does rain though. We won’t dare move a truck. We have about 50 yrds on each side and then it drops off about 200 yrds. We have really been cussing about it.  You know honey I love you. I thought I was going to get to town this weekend but didn’t. I am sending some money so you can buy what you want. When I get somewhere where I can buy I’ll send something now I’ll have to waite [sic]. So I love you, love always, Lefty

Well there went that twenty dollars he won playing craps in the beginning of the chapter!

13 December

Dearest Sweet, Hows my one big moment this nice warm afternoon. Did I say warm. Don’t pay any attention to me. Bob and I are huddled here in a pup tent trying to keep from freezing, by a fire from a candle. It has been freezing since about 3:00 this afternoon and sure hasn’t let up any.  If we had to go out now we would be damn cold. To give you a description of this we have two machine guns defending the whole area and they are on the same road. They say it is impossible for vehicles otherwise. And I believe them.  This mountain is straight up and down almost no one can hardly walk up it. Did I tell you I have my machine gun out. That’s why we can be here so comfortable. We would probably be working otherwise. Also Bob and I are parked on the warm side of this rain now. I wonder what it is like at the kitchens. That’s about the coldest spot around. Also it’s some 50 feet higher than here. Remember the other night I said Bob and I started out to go hunting and couldn’t find the other fellows. Well they came back after us but went first. Of course we didn’t get anything but sure had fun. It wasn’t so cold either. We walked about 8 miles I guess. It was great spot. We were suppose [sic] to go again last night. The boys with the dogs turned up but we were alerted to move so couldn’t go. I sure wish we could have. You said something about not opening my Xmas present until then. What shall I do with it until then. I haven’t any place to keep it so won’t you let me open it. No! Well I will anyway. Maybe next Xmas I’ll be able to waite [sic] Or we’ll be able to waite [sic] together. I hope. By now you should have received everything I sent.  Hope you ain’t mad at me for it. Pardon me while I go eat chow. Well here I am. Did you ever try eating with gloves on. It doesn’t work so well. My God it is cold out. I guess I should stop. This candle doesn’t warm up very much and my hands are getting cold. You know I love you my darling so I will stop. I love you lots and then some more. So honey excuse me I am going to go dig a hole to warm up. I love you. All my love Lefty. PS One dollar stamp money.

That is just like Dad. He won that twenty dollars and turned around and probably sent most of it to Mom for Christmas. I cannot see where Mom might have thought that Dad had room to carry an unopened package around with him. She must not have been thinking about it. She was more worried about getting something to Dad for Christmas.

I guess the army did issue gloves if he has a pair now. I wonder where he will be next Christmas. I am almost sure he will be overseas then and it will change his life.

© Copyright 2012

Robert Winter, Claude R. Gordon



  1. Reblogged this on Heil World Wars.

  2. What gets me thinking is the way your Dad thinks.. very positive most of the time even in the middle of very turbulent times. One reason why I like reading them. Nice post. 🙂

    • Yes for the most part he is upbeat in his letters. I am still getting to know who he was back then. It will be interesting to see how it goes when he gets overseas.

      • Their generation truly was special. 🙂
        I’m happy that you are sharing this introspection with us so that we also get to know how they fought for all of us to be safe. Thanks for the promo. Can’t wait for the overseas part. Great job, Nancy 🙂 God bless you.

      • Thank you so much!

  3. Thanks for the mention! Man, some things never change. Your dad went from blue to happy with the receipt of a simple card. How lovely.

    • Your welcome. It amazes me at how much alike the Army still is.

  4. Precious memories!

    • Yes and to think I may have never known about them had I not started blogging about them.

  5. Great to read about your dad. I will explore your site. My father’s division, the 80th Infintry “Blue Ridge”, received some training at Camp Forrest, TN and later out in the southwest desert. There are many untold stories that need telling. Thank you for yours!

    • Thanks for taking the time to read Dad’s story. I live in the southwest and have been to a lot of Patton’s old desert camps. There is not a lot left there but rock alignments. It is still interesting though. Do you know what camp he was in?

  6. I stumbled upon your blog and have to say what a wonderful thing it is for you to share your dad’s letters. It does open eyes as to how things have changed and stayed the same. I once found a large box of letter from my dad to my mom while he was in Vietnam. The insight that can be pulled from pages such as you are sharing is amazing.

    • Thank you so much for your kind comment. I am getting to know the person my dad was before he went overseas. I know that the war changed him and I am glad I have this insight into who he was before he laid his life on the line for our country. Thank you once again!

  7. Terribly interesting read. Brrr. I feel bad when he is so cold!

    Such a good reminder how important one letter can be. I enjoyed your personal, interspersed comments, too. Thanks for sharing.

    • It is hard to read when he is dealing with such hardships. But it is part of the story that needs to be told.

  8. Thank you for informing me about you blog. What can I can but – WOW.

  9. Hi Nancy;
    I have a friend who was a member of Company B, 137th Infantry, 35th Division of the Kansas National Guard and stationed at Camp Robinson. This is his recount of the Yoo Hoo incident: From Robert Mott – I just got around to reading the attachment concerning the “Yoo Hoo” incident in July, 1941. My memory is different but the material you sent was essentially accurate. The unit involved was the 110h Quartermaster Regiment,a unit of the 35th Infantry Division at Camp Robinson. The 35th had engaged in the Arkansas-Louisiana maneuvers and was returning to Camp Robinson after being out in the field for 6-8 weeks. My recollection is that General Lear ordered those involved from the 110th QM to truck back to Memphis with the command that the unit walk from Memphis to Camp Robinson. So, the unit was trucked back and the walk began only to have General Lear lift his order after 15 miles or so. I don’t think Lear ever came to Little Rock or Robinson in connection with this incident.
    I kept a scrapbook with many newspapers and pictures about “Yoo Hoo.” It affected only the 110th QM but no other units of he 35th. My scrapbook is now in the Lyon County Historical files. I would say that the information in the scrapbook was a somewhat less flamboyant summary of the incident—but the YOO HOOers generated plenty of reaction—pro and con— back in 1941.
    As infantrymen, Company B members had walked their asses off during the maneuvers in the two states and we could have done 15 miles without a blister. No sweat.

    Hope you’ve had a good summer at UC Davis and that your future is bright. Keep in touch.Yoo Hoo!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Wow Nan, Thank you so much! My father was part of the 110th Quartermaster. Although he was on furlough the day it happened he was aware of the incident as it made news all over the US granting the 110th QM and General Lear the nicknames Yoo Hoo Lear and the 110th Yoo Hoo regiment. This incident was the theme of most of their reunions after the war. It was also told to us as a bedtime story and it now touches my heart.

      I am not sure what you meant by the UC Davis remark. I do not go to school. Was this meant for someone else?

      Here is a link to my rendition of the Yoo Hoo incident

      Thank you so much for your comment. There are so few of the 110th and those who were involved.

      • Hi Nancy; I copied the entire e mail from Robert which was to me. So the UCDavis remarks are addressed to me. Where did you go to school?

      • OIC hahahaha I got a little confused. I went to a community college in Azusa and did two semesters in Oregon. Thanks once again for this wonderful information!

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